First Winter Away - 2005 travel blog

typical view

no sand here

We have been so impressed by the plant life we have seen in Arizona, enhanced by all the rain they finally have received. There's a lot more to the traditional desert cactus, the one that stands with arms raised up in the air, than I realized. They are called saguaro and don't grow an arm until they are 75 years old. This gave me new appreciation for the multi armed ones we saw near our campground in Phoenix. They really are the trees of the desert. Our friends told us that they swell like an extended accordian when water is plentiful and fold back together during dry times. Golf course architects have had a hard time planting them near the greens. When they irrigate, the sauguaro swell up like balloons and get top heavy and fall over.

Today we left the pristine green Phoenix desert and drove 440 miles to El Paso to join the RV's that will caravan through Mexico with us. As we traveled east past Tucson we passed over the continental divide and the desert grew brown and desolate - more like what we have been expecting to see. As we neared the New Mexico/Texas border our noses were assaulted by mile after mile of cattle pens, abundant with manure.

Although we have only seen El Paso from the expressway, we were not impressed. In the west we passed shanty towns spinkled over the rolling hills, making us think we were already in Mexico. Then our noses were assaulted once again, with petroleum refinery and heavy manufacturing smells.

Our campground is located on the eastern edge of El Paso and specializes as a launching pad for caravan groups such as ours. It may not offer an "out in nature" sort of experience but as you can see from their website at:

Mission RV.

they are well prepared to serve our last minute needs. Filling our propane tanks, doing the laundry, getting a hair cut, and stocking up on groceries are on our to do list before we cross the Rio.

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